Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 15, 2015

Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351,

Budget Rider Lifts Ban on Crude Oil Exports, Worsens Climate Crisis

WASHINGTON— Less than a week after the close of global climate change talks in Paris, a rider attached to the 2016 appropriations bill expected to be unveiled by Congress tonight will remove any restrictions on the export of U.S. crude oil, opening the door to a vast increase in drilling, fracking and greenhouse gas pollution. 

“Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would undercut all the other progress our nation may make in fighting climate change,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “It would increase planet-warming pollution and unleash more fracking and dangerous drilling in America’s vulnerable communities and precious wildlife habitat.”

Completely ending the export ban could increase domestic oil production by more than 3 million barrels a day, according to a recent estimate by the Center for American Progress. As a result the United States would lose more than 100 square miles of land a year to drilling and oil infrastructure, face risks from the annual transport of enough oil to fill 4,500 fire-prone rail tank cars, and suffer the release of more than 500 million tons of additional carbon pollution per year.

“President Obama must veto this horrendous proposal or he’ll show the world that the commitments he just made in Paris are insincere,” said Siegel, who attended the Paris talks. “The president is at real risk of losing any chance he has at a positive legacy on climate.”

The Paris talks showcased a large and growing global movement urging world leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Earlier this year a study commissioned by the Center and Friends of the Earth determined that halting new fossil fuel leases on America’s public lands and oceans would keep up to 450 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution from escaping into the atmosphere. More than 400 organizations and leaders working on the “Keep It in the Ground” campaign called on President Obama to end new federal fossil fuel leases.

Scientists have estimated that at least 80 percent of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if the world is to have a realistic chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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